What (or who) is supporting you?

Talk about no visible means of support!! Check out the picture with this post. It is simply amazing. I was looking at it when it occurred to me that Christians have no visible means of support, either. With Jesus as our Lord however, we have the Holy Spirit within us, with the perfect ability to lift us up and see us through the rough times. Raising kids is hard, but He can make a stressful, impossible situation tolerable, and improve a difficult relationship. Even when times seem like they can’t get worse, God will support you, just as this tree seems to be hanging in mid-air.

Psalm 55:22 states, Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous be shaken.

In John 14:27 it says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 21:19 says, Stand firm and you will win life.

Romans 8:16 states, The mind governed by the flesh is death but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

God will sustain you, despite your doubts. Just be willing to give God your fears, and let Him show you what to do, when you have no idea what to do.

Also, read Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 8:28, Luke 6:48, II Corinthians 4:7-9, and Isaiah 40:31.

Do YOU want to make a difference?

This blog I started three months ago has really been a learning opportunity for me. I have used computers in my teaching, but this has been a different “venue” for me, and I love it. One thing God has taught me is that I am one of the people that I am writing to. The other is my passion to have readers have input into this blog. I started this as a type of forum, so people who wanted to could share their thoughts and ideas on how we as Christians can live more balanced Christian lives, incorporating our Lord Jesus Christ into our everyday existence, and not just living for Christ on Sunday at Church. I thought I would republish my first blog post, because it really does share my passion for sharing your ideas and mine, to help us and our children be the Godly people we know we should be. Please don’t be afraid to add your ideas and input. I really want us to work together to help our kids grow in their walk with God.          _____________________________________________________________________

I am not an expert. I am a Christian mom/grandma who has been watching as too many of our kids move away from the church, and their relationship to Jesus Christ. Kids who grow up going to church, learning about Jesus, becoming Christian, but abandon Christ and the church when they become adults.

I believe many are leaving because they have never had a real relationship with Jesus. Most of our kids have been taught about Him, but don’t genuinely know Him. They see Jesus as being “What I do on Sunday.” When they graduate from high school, too many leave the church, because they don’t see the importance of Jesus in their everyday lives.

That is what this blog is all about. How can we bring Jesus home? What can we do to help our kids and grandkids develop a true, loving relationship with Him in their everyday lives? It means not only helping our children interact with Jesus everyday, but being willing to be the role models for our kids, so they can see Jesus working in and through us, their parents and grandparents.

I Corinthians 10:31, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Deuteronomy 6:5, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Joshua 24:15, …but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

How is the family devotion time going?

One thing God has made clear to me over the past months of this blog is that I am good at being able to tell others what to do, but don’t necessarily apply the advise to myself. In other words, I need to do more to bring Jesus home when I am with my grandkids (which is almost everyday). The Holy Spirit  has been nudging me to start doing devotions with my grandbabies, and I thought I’d look for online devotions to see what was “out there.”

I found one I am going to use that includes a lot of resources to help parents/grandparents. The website is: www.truthforkids.com. Go to “kids devotions online”. The devotions are aimed at kids 8-12, but there is a link for preschool devotions as well.

The site has information on how to get kids into reading the Bible, tackling difficult subjects, a template for kids to journal their reading, ideas for crafts, activities and more, and most of it is available for FREE.

I know this sounds like an advertisement for this website, but I haven’t even contacted the author, so it really isn’t. I just thought this could be a very good place for parents to start on the journey to doing devotions with their kids.  I will let you know how it goes with my grandbabies (the oldest “baby” is 12, but I still call them grandbabies). Right now I am praying for a time to do devotions when the kids will be the most interested, and the least distracted by other things they are already doing (like electronics).

James 1:5, But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NIV)

Psalm 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go, I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (ESV)

Why would you want to give God 100%?

As parents/grandparents, our biggest role is not raising our kids, it’s being able to be receptive to God’s will in our lives. Yes, it is more important than raising our kids. “Letting go and letting God,” as they say, is what we are supposed to be about, as Christians. I am not the boss of my life, Jesus Christ is. Can you truly say that if you are honest with yourself? It took me most of my life to figure that one out, but boy, has it made a change in me. I have much more joy and peace than I’ve ever had. I care more about people. I want to have an impact on my kids and grandkids, but also my church, friends and my world.

Who better to trust our lives, and our children’s lives to, than Jesus. But prayer is the key. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His presence in your life. Ask Him to take down the wall of fear that keeps you from giving your whole life – not just part of it, or most of it – to Him. This is when you can truly be the parent/grandparent that God wants you to be. Every Christian parent has Jesus as their advocate, guide and friend. Trust Christ to take control – real control – of your life. You will see a difference in yourself, and I think you will really like the “new” you! I can guarantee that you won’t be perfect, but you will be pretty happy with what God can do through you.

Mark 12:30, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

focusonthefamily.com has a great series of articles about “Spiritual Growth for Kids,” and one of them is specifically on putting God first.

 

What kind of example are you?

Pastor Tony Foglio Jr. and his wife, Brandi, gave a very powerful message a couple of Sundays ago. It was called “How to be Happy with your Children.” Are you happy with your kids? I know that’s a loaded question, for inasmuch as we love our kids, sometimes we would love to give them away for awhile.

When it comes right down to it, kids are a reflection of their parents for the most part. What they see and hear from you, will become what they say and do. As Pastor Tony stated, “Example is EVERYTHING,” and, “your example to your kids isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing!”

Be the best parent you can be. Yes, we all fail and have our shortcomings. But honesty, and being willing to admit to your kids that you were wrong, or you made a mistake, goes a long way in a child, when you are trying to teach them to be responsible.

Leading by example means being involved (at least somewhat) in what your kids do. Don’t take them to church, go to church with them. Ask them about what they learned, both at church and in school. Dads and Moms, use Jesus as your role model, as you would like to be your children’s role model. What you expect your children to do, you should be willing to do.

Ephesians 6:4 states, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 states, Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

God is clearly interested in your kids. And He knows you have a rough job. But never forget, as Christians we are in a battle against Satan for our children’s lives. Pray for your kids like there’s no tomorrow, because there may not be.

Can you “bring Jesus home” to your parents?

One of the most difficult things we have to do in this life is take care of our parents. Raising kids is easy compared to trying to convince aging parents that they need to make a change in their lives! But this is where my siblings and I are at with my mom and dad. My dad has been in and out of the hospital, and my mom is overwhelmed by having to take care of my dad, the bills, the house, etc. on her own. There are five of us siblings trying to help Mom and Dad, which I find amazing, because there are so many families in which the care falls to the sibling who lives closest to the parents, and they have no other help.

Parents are funny about listening to their kids. They don’t and won’t, if they can possibly get away with it! I am trying to make this statement humorous, but it is true. I have had a Psychologist tell me that our parents always see themselves as our parents. Maybe that is why they are so resistant to suggestions made by their kids. At any rate, we have found that caring (or trying to help) our parents is a very thankless job, which makes it even more stressful, and makes it hard for my sibs to want to travel out and help. But they do anyway, Praise the Lord!

My sibs are all Christian, which changes this bleak picture. They have been able to sit down and talk to my dad and mom in a way that they could not, as children. My dad has opened up to talk to us, when he never really did when we were younger.  We are bringing Jesus home to my parents in many ways, by praying for them, and with them; sharing our walks with Christ; and being a reflection of Christ in how we behave toward them.

In Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, the devotion for January 26th, she writes as Jesus would speak – “It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances. In fact, my Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark. That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit. When things seem all wrong, trust Me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.”

John 16:33 and Psalm 112:4,7.

Are you overwhelmed by life?

So many Christian parents feel like life is overwhelming them. Where is God? Come back to your “first love.” It is a matter of trusting Him to be in charge. Are you rundown, tired? Do you have too many things to do and not enough time? I feel sad for people who aren’t Christians, because they don’t have the only true resource they need to get them through difficult times – Jesus. Take two minutes to read through the verses below, then give God back control of your life. And pray your life back to Him everyday. I promise that – through the Holy Spirit – things will change. Your schedule may be just as crazy, but it won’t overwhelm you, because He is in control.

Isaiah 40:31, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 31:24, Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you.

Psalm 119:114, You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

Who is in control?

Who is in control of your kids/grandkids? In the U.S. “being in control” is a big thing. Some parents want to be very careful of where their kids go, what they do, who they play with, etc. But how about trying to be the ultimate control in your kids’ lives? The story of the parents of 13 starving, shackled kids is a story of trying to be the ultimate authority, in control of their children’s lives. And the story is very ugly, as we have seen.

So who is ultimately in control? God is. Why didn’t He stop this? He did stop it. Why did it take so long? I believe the answer to that is because Satan is still loose  and able to do what he wants to on the Earth.

It can be a scary thing to have kids and want to keep them safe. But as Christians, we have to understand how “in control” God Himself is. Isaiah 41:10 states, Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

It is our God given job to watch over our kids, and keep them safe as much as we can, but with Jesus Christ, it is possible to be happy without being totally in control. God’s got you covered, and your kids. He loves you and them like crazy, and wants what is best for you. God is in control. We can’t even control our heart beats, so how are we going to control anything else completely?

Give God your children’s safety. And your’s as well. His peace will surround you, and you will feel better, knowing Almighty God has your back.

The verses at the top all address the peace of God, when we feel like we have no control over events (and our kids).

How can we defeat gossip?

It seems to me that if we are in a situation where we want to make “small talk” with someone, the first subject to come up is the weather. Am I right?? Even in Southern CA, we discuss the weather. “It is beautiful but it has been too dry.” “I haven’t been able to wear my sweaters because it is too warm.” (If you live in a cold climate, please stick with me, now. I’ll be praying for you.)

So what are we doing? We’re complaining! Now, getting back to my last post on gossip…what is gossip? Complaining and judging others! Someone else doesn’t meet “my” standards. “Did you see what _________ did last week after school? Did you know that _________ goes to the bar on Saturday night? Did you notice what ______________ wore to church last Sunday?”

God had to get me to a place where I realized that all I did when I conversed with others was complain. And sometimes, that complaining turned to gossip. As a result, I had to do a lot of praying that God would take that desire away from me, and He did!  Now, it is something that I work on with my grandkids, trying to help them realize that saying negative things about someone behind their back is gossiping, and that it hurts them, and can damage the trust others have in them.

I honestly believe that if we focus on asking the Lord to remove our desire to complain and judge others, the Holy Spirit will remove our desire to do these things, and any problem with gossip will end, pretty much as a result.

Email me and let me know if you have had victory over complaining and gossiping.

Ephesians 4:29 states – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for the building up of others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 

What exactly IS the “Golden Rule?”

Matthew 5:12,  Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Our kids get caught up in gossiping at a very early age. Have you ever heard your own kids gossip? As early as perhaps 2nd or 3rd grade you can catch kids making negative comments to friends about other kids. One thing about working with high school kids, I was able to be a part of their everyday lives, and it is amazing how much they – especially girls – will gossip!

I have heard groups of girls threaten to hurt another girl over what was being gossiped about. I have seen fights happen between girls all because of gossip that went out of control.

Our kids can get as wrapped up in gossip just as easily as anyone else. Many kids don’t understand that gossip is wrong, because the adults they are around all the time do it as well! If we don’t want our kids to gossip, or be the victim of it, we must instill a dislike for it into them, as well as ourselves.

Treat other people the way you want to be treated. The “Golden Rule.” Do you have an experience as the victim of gossip? How did it get resolved?

I will continue this topic in Part 2.